Tuesday, September 29, 2015

4 Reasons Why Identity Monitor Services Are Essential

You can never be too careful with your personal information.

Data from Javelin Strategy & Research estimates that 12.7 million consumers in the US were victims of identity theft in 2014. No matter how careful you are with your information, you can still have your identity stolen. And the impact can be absolutely devastating on your credit.

The following are four reasons why identity monitor services are essential.

1. Credit Score Monitoring
Identity thieves can use your information to make large purchases or open new accounts in your name. Which is why reviewing your credit report regularly is important to look for any suspicious activity. Otherwise you could be a victim of identity theft without even realizing it.

Identity theft protection services offer comprehensive credit monitoring and provide alerts for certain types of activity. You can also be able to view your credit report.

2. Public Record Monitoring
Do you know how your information is being used?

Identity monitor services also offer public record monitoring. You receive reports and updates if any of your information is being used without your knowledge. This is particularly helpful to detect identity theft.

3. Timely Alerts
Dealing with identity theft can be extremely time consuming. But it needs to be handled immediately before it becomes a larger issue later on. Identity protection services offer prompt alerts for certain changes.

This allows you to take immediate action such as freezing your credit or contacting the credit issuer directly. Doing so prevent anyone from opening accounts in your name.

4. Personal Assistance
Your identity can still be compromised.

If your identity ever gets stolen, you need to take immediate recovery steps. But the process can be rather confusing. Identity monitoring services offer personal recovery assistance and guidance on what to do to recover your identity. This is particularly beneficial as it greatly increases the chances of getting back what you may have lost.

Identity protection services offer a greater sense of security and are well worth the cost. These are the benefits you can expect when you sign up for identity monitoring.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Types of Identity Theft

What do you think of when someone says identity theft? Often, the first thing that comes to mind is a criminal using someone else's credit card to make purchases after stealing the actual credit card or accessing the credit card information online. This is only one kind of identity theft, and is a part of the larger category of financial identity theft, which may include not only the misuse of credit cards, but also other means of using a stolen identity to procure goods or services. There are many types of identity theft.  Another way to steal someone's identity is to pose as that person when apprehended for a crime. Identity cloning means assuming another person's identity in every aspect of daily life, possibly for purposes of immigration. Medically, a person's identity may be taken by another in order to obtain medical care or drugs. Stealing the identity of a child is often very effective because there is no information yet associated with that individual. Often, the perpetrator is a close family member with access to the child's social security number. This kind of theft can go undetected for a long time because the child would not be attempting to access credit, a marriage license or other identity related services. Who knew there were so many ways to have your identity compromised?

Clearly, it is necessary to take steps to prevent identity theft. First, be careful what you share and with whom. The use of social media is very prevalent, however, it is never a good idea to post personal information like your birthday online. If you receive a call from someone asking for sensitive information, even if it is a business you work with often, hang up and call back on a known number for that business. Second, make sure that your valuable documents are secure. You should not carry your birth certificate or social security card unless you know you will need them. They should normally be in a secure, locked location. The same goes for credit and debit cards. Carry them only when you think you will use them. Third, secure your information online. Use anti-virus and anti-malware products such as those available from Identity Guard®. Develop strong passwords that cannot be easily hacked, such as longer words with odd combinations of numbers, letters and special symbols. Last, a comprehensive service such as Identity Guard can be used to give you extra security around your sensitive information to protect your whole identity, not just your credit report and credit score.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Making An Identity Theft Report - The Process Involved

In today's society, there are many things to celebrate, and at the same time, there are many threats from criminals who are looking to gain advantage while ruining the modern age for everyone else. As new technology works to bring us exciting ways of communicating with people across the world, completing commerce transactions, and moving through our lives in total financial freedom, it is also opening up new ways for criminals to access our data. In the technological world that we live in today, thousands of people are falling victim to identity theft - and not only does this crime take place on the internet, but it can also happen to you anywhere else, at any time. If you find that you have become a victim of credit fraud, then you will need to file identity theft report quickly, so that you can avoid serious complications in your financial future.

Making an ID Theft Report

Although many of us understand what identity theft actually is, few know how to report it to the relevant authorities, so that they can reduce the impact a criminal has on their credit rating and future. Typically, all you need to do is contact your credit provider or bank, and the local authorities in your area as quickly as possible, and give them all the details of what has been going on. Unfortunately, one serious problem that many people encounter when making an identity theft report, is that they only notice the issue after months of damage have already taken place. Not only can this mean that it becomes more difficult for those individuals to repair the damage that has already happened to their finances and reputation, but it also means that you might end up struggling with financial repercussions for some time - even though the problems weren't your fault.

The best way to protect yourself and prepare for any eventualities that might occur in relation to credit fraud, is to access the services of a credit monitoring solution, which will allow you to watch the actions taking place within your accounts on a regular basis. What this means is that you would be able to act much earlier to put a stop to those activities.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information for their own gain.  This information can include name, birthday, social security number, or bank account numbers.  It is the fastest growing crime in America and learning to protect yourself from identity theft should be a priority.

At home.  Shred documents and papers that may contain personal information before you throw them away.  Criminals have been known to go through trash to obtain information for identity theft.  When protecting from identity theft, remember that bills, pay stubs, credit card offers, and other documents all include personal information.

Credit and debit cards.  Before you swipe a credit or debit card, examine the reader and make sure it does not appear to have been tampered with.    Criminals sometimes attach devices called skimmers that store your card information so they can use it to make purchases or create a counterfeit card.  Watching carefully when you have to hand your card to a cashier, and considering using cash in restaurants will also help with protecting from identity theft.

Online.  When shopping online, only use reputable web sites.  Criminals sometimes create fraudulent sites just to trick you into entering payment information.  If you are unsure about a site, do some research before you enter your payment information.

Protecting from identity theft includes never shopping or logging into personal accounts when using public wi-fi.  You never know who else is on that connection and they may be snooping on information that you send and receive.

Be skeptical of any emails asking for information regarding an account or order.  Don’t reply or click any links included in the message.  If you suspect that it may be legitimate, contact the company directly.

Passwords.  So much of your personal information is stored electronically.  Strong passwords are needed to keep all that information safe.  Your passwords should be long, complex, unpredictable, and unique.  Never use the same password twice, and don’t use the most common ones, such as a favorite sports team or pet’s name.

In your wallet.  Never carry your social security card with you, and only carry as many credit cards as you need.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Everyday ID Theft Protection

Did you know that some of your everyday activities can put you at risk for identity theft?  Know where you are at risk in order to provide yourself with ID theft protection.

At your job.  You had to provide your social security number when you got your job, and often employers do a background check before they hire someone.  To protect from ID theft, make sure that your company is taking good care of this personal information.  Is it just stored in a file cabinet that anyone can have access to?  Are electronic records protected by the latest technology?  Remember that is not just your social security number at risk, those background checks can include all sorts of valuable information.

As a parent.  Child identity theft is becoming more common.  Thieves like to take advantage of a child’s clean credit history and the fact that the theft may not be discovered for many years.  To protect from ID theft, be careful who you give your child’s social security number to.  When someone requests it, ask what it will be used for and if another number will do.  Your pediatrician will likely need to have it, but your daycare or little league should not.  Monitor what your child posts on social media, and be careful when you provide information for other things such as music and gaming accounts.  Look for indications of child ID theft such as credit card offers or other mail generally meant for adults, or by checking for a credit report.

At the ATM.  To protect from ID theft, examine an ATM before using it.  If there appears to be signs of tampering, don’t use it.  Thieves can attach devices to an ATM that capture your card information and/or PIN.  Beware of who is around you.  If someone is standing too close, walk away and don’t use the ATM.  Also, try to only use ATMs that are associated with a well-known bank, especially when traveling.

Online.  Watch for phishing sites and emails.  Only enter personal information at well-known, secure sites, and if you receive an email asking for account or payment information, disregard it.  If you think the email may be legitimate, contact the company directly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tips to Prevent Identity Theft When Traveling

You already have enough to worry about when traveling.

You have to make sure that everything you need is packed and that your reservations are confirmed. But when traveling you need to take extra precaution to protect your identity. The reason why is because foreigners tend to make easy targets for identity thieves.

Here are tips to minimize the risk of identity theft when you travel.

1. Keep All Sensitive Documents at Home
If you are traveling for vacation, you only need to bring your passport and identification card. Everything else including your social security card, checkbook, bank statements, and other sensitive documents can be left at home. Never leave any personal documents lying around in your room.

If you need to bring any of these, put them in your hotel safe to keep them secure.

2. Beware of Public Computers
Public computers are convenient to look up local information or print itineraries but most have insecure Internet connections. One mistake that travelers make is using public computers to access their online banking accounts without logging out. The risk also applies to checking email or logging into other sites.

The best approach is to avoid logging into your online accounts, personal email, and even your social media accounts if at all possible. There are services that help to prevent identity theft by keeping connections and data secure.

3. Use Bank ATMs
One of the most common types of identity theft involves the use of a skimming device that copies information from the magnetic strip on your credit card. Identity thieves typically install these devices in generic looking ATMs which can be found in convenience stores or even in hotels. If you need to pull out money, use only ATM machines that are found inside a local bank.

An identity thief who has access to your debit card can essentially empty your bank account. Only use credit cards to make purchases as credit card companies now offer protection against fraudulent activity. A better option is use cash whenever possible for purchases you make.

This will help to reduce your risk of identity theft next time you travel.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Credit Monitoring is Key to Protecting your Identity

Most likely you or someone you know has had a personal experience with identity theft.  The stories can be short and painless or long and torturous.  Consumers need to be proactive in detecting and protecting themselves from identity theft or else they will become the star of yet another tale of identity theft.  Being careful with your personal information and practicing credit monitoring can help decrease your risk.

Thieves are always looking for new ways to obtain your personal information, so you need to careful about protecting it.
  • Only give your social security number when absolutely necessary and don’t carry the card in your wallet.
  • Be careful when shopping online. Only use reputable sites and secure internet connections.
  • Shred documents and papers before you throw them away.
  • Don’t give personal information in any unsolicited phone calls or emails.
  • Be careful where you use credit and debit cards.
No matter how careful you are though, thieves are still going to find a way to get your information, this is why you need to be monitoring credit score.  When a thief uses your social security number to open a line of credit, you may not see any indication that the theft has happened for years, other than the changes on your credit report.  You should take advantage of your free credit report form each of the three credit bureaus every year.  Make sure that you are on the official government mandated site when you request your reports.  Look for accounts that you don’t recognize, inquiries from companies that you don’t know, and inaccuracies in your basic information.

Use a credit score monitoring service to keep you protected between your free credit reports.  Choose one that monitors your credit report from all three credit bureaus at least monthly.  When there are new accounts or other suspicious changes to your credit report, they alert you with a phone call, text, or email.  Your credit score monitoring service can also advise you on what your next move should be.  Often early detection can make cleaning up your credit report easier.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Mistakes can Teach about Identity Theft Protection

Like many Americans, I have been a victim of identity theft and so has a member of my family.  Several years ago my mother was buying a new house.  Somewhere along the line her social security number fell into the wrong hands, and someone was opening lines of credit in her name in a different state.  When she started receiving calls about suspicious accounts, she thought that the calls were from scammers, not people trying to help, so she hung up on them.  She did eventually discover the theft and get the worst of it removed from her credit report, but to this day her credit report still lists one of her former addresses as being in Homestead, Fl.  We can learn a few things about identity theft protection from her experience:
  • Be careful who you give your personal information to. She never found out for sure where her number was compromised, but has her suspicions about the person who was initially helping her to sell her house.  Try to do some research before you give a person or business your social security number.
  • To protect from identity theft, monitor your credit report. She would have discovered the theft much sooner if she had checked he credit report.  Early detection is key in minimizing damage.
My own experience only included an existing account, but was scary all the same.  I was in college finishing up a semester at sea and at our last stop in South America, I used the wrong ATM.  I knew that it didn’t look right, but was young and not as concerned as I should have been.  The next time I checked my account, I learned that it had been completely drained.   Protect from identity theft and don’t make the same mistakes that I did:
  • Don’t keep all your money in one account. I had just received a hefty student loan to cover housing the following semester.  All of it was gone.
  • To protect from identity theft, be careful where you use your card. ATMs and gas pumps can be compromised by skimmers to steal your personal information.  Watch cashiers when you have to hand them your card.  Consider using cash in restaurants because waiters usually have to go out of sight with your card.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Protection Against Social Security Identity Theft - Some Measures To Take

Identity theft, in all of its numerous forms, has been hailed as one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. Criminals are constantly coming up with sneaky new ways to obtain the information they need to access a person's finances, benefits, medical insurance, and more. One of the most dangerous documents that any malicious thief could get their hands on, is your social security number. Social security theft can potentially open doors for criminals into just about any part of your life. Once someone has gotten your social security number, they will be much more capable of assuming your identity.

Remember, that particular number makes up an important aspect of your life. Often, you'll find that you're asked to present it when you decide to apply for a new job, or progress to the next stage of your life. With that in mind, it's important to find ways of protecting yourself against fraud that makes use of your social security number.

Social Security Number Identity Theft

Typically, this takes place when certain individuals use your number to create a new identity for themselves. This means that you, and the criminal are using the same number at the same time - potentially to apply for jobs, collect benefits, and more. Most people find that when their social security number is stolen, they've lost control of their lives long before they've noticed what has happened to them.

Some criminals choose to develop a brand new persona from the stolen security number, failing to pay income taxes, which are then left down to you. Other criminal entities simply commit crimes using their fake identities, leading to trouble for the victim.

How to Protect Yourself

A good way to get some protection against the threat of this form of identity theft, is to access the assistance of a dedicated service. Social security identity theft protection services with Identity Guard® help to offer you an extra layer of protection when it comes to keeping your identity secure. This can help reduce your chances of suffering from the significant repercussions of criminal fraudsters getting hold of your information.